COGGON, Iowa - A 77-year-old Coggon man was hospitalized Friday afternoon after apparently shooting himself in the chest. Linn County authorities described that shooting, at 417 2nd Street South in Coggon, as an accident.
The sheriff's department did not identify the victim immediately pending notification of relatives. But neighbors said it was James Halstead.
Neighbor Carl Jensen said he was talking with Halstead just a short time before the shooting. He'd actually delivered some bad news to the victim telling him the city was preparing to tear down a crumbling garage at the property as a hazard.
Jensen said Halstead went inside his home and later he heard some yelling, but no gunshot. Jensen said the yelling wasn't unusual because his neighbor did that often inside his home.
As emergency responders arrived, Jensen said he went next door and talked to Halstead briefly before he left in an ambulance.
"I asked 'what happened to you, you fall down?' and he didn't say anything. Then I happened to see they uncovered the front of his chest and he had blood on his brow and that made me think he fell," Jensen said.
St. Luke's Hospital had no information about Halstead's condition. But a deputy on the scene in Coggon believed the chest wound was not life threatening.
Halstead told officers he was cleaning a .22 caliber pistol when it went off.